The New York Yankees have released their ALDS roster, and with some unpleasant surprises.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 11, 2022
Not surprisingly, DJ LeMahieu and his injured toe won’t be playing. He hit .250 in his brief comeback at the end of the season but even manager Aaron Boone observed during workouts this week that LeMahieu was “still compromised.”
The news doesn’t get better. Jack Curry of the YES Network reported sidearming groundball machine Scott Effross needs Tommy John surgery. That knocks him out not just for the playoffs, but for all of next season. As MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch observed, this would have been Aroldis Chapman’s spot had he not skipped a workout.
The most glaring omission, however, belongs to infield prospect Oswald Peraza. He hit .306 with an .832 OPS in just 18 games. Yet, he was left off in favor of veteran utility player Marwin Gonzalez, who hit .185 in 85 games. It doesn’t matter that Oswaldo Cabrera is basically the same type player and posted a WAR twice Gonzalez’s in half as many games. Clearly, general manager Brian Cashman and his all-knowing Yankees analytics team like Marwin Gonzalez more than Peraza’s upside.
Some may also criticize the inclusion of Tim Locastro, but he’s only a pinch runner who otherwise won’t play significant innings. Similarly, Aaron Hicks has a strong enough arm that he can sub into left field late in close games, probably for Cabrera.
In case it wasn’t obvious, things just got a bit harder for the Yankees. The lineup learned how to hit and function without DJ LeMahieu, but the two-time batting champ is still a big loss. The bullpen, however, remains the biggest question mark.
Instead of Effross, the Yankees have Miguel Castro, who only just came back after months of shoulder trouble. Ron Marinaccio’s devastating changeup isn’t available. How will Jameson Taillon and Domingo German factor into the mix?
The strangest part is the Yankees are still in a solid position to beat the Guardians. It will take their lineup outperforming expectations, but it’s true. The AL Central is weak and Cleveland was streaky all year. Even with a clear bullpen advantage in star closer Emmanuel Clase, the Guardians are underdogs.
But be it Jameson Taillon, Domingo German, or even youngster Clarke Schmidt, the Yankees need a bullpen hero. Pitching wins championships and for the first time all year, it looks like a weakness for New York.
Game 1 of the ALDS begins at 7:37 p.m. ET on TBS.